Waste Reduction at MillerCoors

Waste Reduction in 2011

Waste Reduction

We are experienced at recycling. More than 50 years ago, Bill Coors began a program called Cash for Cans, offering consumers a penny per can or bottle returned for recycling. By 1965, the company collected more than 13 million cans with a nearly 85 percent recovery rate. We still believe that waste can be reduced, reused or recycled and are working to achieve zero waste to landfill at our eight major breweries.


Waste to Landfill in 2011

Our employees are at the root of our tremendous success with reducing waste sent to landfills. Four years ago, we established a goal to reduce waste to landfills by 15 percent by 2015 from a 2008 baseline. By the end of 2010, we exceeded our goal, reducing waste by 32 percent. Based on this success, we increased our goal to reduce waste to landfill by 50 percent by 2015. By the end of 2011, we exceeded our goal again and reduced waste to landfill by 55 percent. We are now working to establish a new target.

Reducing, Reusing and Recycling

Reducing, reusing or recycling waste has long been a strategy for sustainability at MillerCoors.

  • New recycle center at Eden Brewery: In 2011, Eden Brewery established a new recycling center with a new cardboard baler, aluminum baler and recycling containers. The new recycle center is part of Eden Brewery’s strategy to remain zero waste to landfill.
  • Paper reduction at Milwaukee Campus: By removing desktop printers and defaulting to double-sided printing, we used 412,250 fewer sheets of paper in Milwaukee in 2011.
  • More efficient truck trips from Trenton Brewery: By maximizing how recyclable materials are loaded into trailers at our Trenton Brewery, we increased the tonnage from 8.3 to nearly 12 tons per trailer, removed 11 trailers from the road and saved more than 2,300 truck miles in 2011.
  • Operation zero waste at Golden Brewery: The Golden Brewery piloted a new program in 2011 to increase recycling. Between September and December 2011, recycling increased by an average of 51 percent, resulting in $200,000 in increased revenue from recycling and avoiding costs associated with disposing waste.
  • Earth Week at Chicago headquarters: Our Chicago headquarters recognized 2011 Earth Week by distributing more than 400 reusable lunch bags and clarifying recycling processes. More than 60 employees pledged to make “green” changes in their daily lives, such as reducing their shower times.

Waste Is a Resource Out of Place

We reuse or recycle more than 99 percent of our brewery waste, from the protein-rich residual brewer’s grain and spent yeast to glass cullet, aluminum, plastic, wood and other materials. We turn “waste” into energy, compost and soil conditioner for our own use. We send the remaining by-products to companies that use them for many other beneficial purposes. For instance, by-products from our Albany Brewery are used to fertilize crops on an on-site 600-acre hay farm and 700-acre tree farm. Our Golden Brewery was the nation’s first major brewery to supply the feedstock that a third-party uses to manufacture pure ethanol — which is then used to power flex fuel vehicles.

Learn more about how we re-use waste from our brewing process.

MillerCoors Manufacturing Way

Our Senior Leadership Team is committed to sustainably using resources and following good business practices. We believe every MillerCoors employee shares the responsibility of sustainable business practices, and this shared belief is captured in our MillerCoors Manufacturing Way. Through this set of formal practices (a Way), our employees strive daily to reduce waste in all forms and minimize our impact on limited resources. Guided by the MillerCoors Manufacturing Way, we harness the collective efforts of our teams to find new and innovative ways to be good stewards of the environment. In short, sustainability is integral to our Way, every day.

Achieving Zero Waste to Landfill

Our Trenton, Irwindale, Eden and Shenandoah Breweries achieved zero waste to landfill.

Vinyl Billboards Recycled into Coors Light Reusable Bags

At two retail outlets in Portland, Ore., and Vancouver, Wash., in 2011, we provided complimentary reusable grocery bags with purchase of our 24-packs of Coors Light cans. The reusable bags were made from recycled Coors Light vinyl billboards. Based on the program’s success, we are growing the program to bring sustainability initiatives to new stores in 2012.

Coors Light Is an Official Recycling Partner at NASCAR

As official sponsors of NASCAR, MillerCoors partners with Coca-Cola Co. to support a recycling program at NASCAR tracks. By providing NASCAR fans with banners, recycling bags and corrugated recycling bins at races, we helped create the largest recycling program in professional sports. We began the recycling program in 2010 at three tracks and expanded to five tracks in 2011. In 2012, we plan to expand the program to five or more additional tracks, including Charlotte and Talladega.

Virginia Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award

In recognition of our recycling and sustainability program, the Shenandoah Brewery was honored as a Gold Medal winner in the 2011 Virginia Governor’s Environmental Excellence Award.